November 19, 2009
CoCoRaHS - "Volunteers working together to measure precipitation across the nation." Sponsored by NWS, NOAA, and more... Volunteers Wanted (pdf)
Patrick Chovanec, associate professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, has written an interesting map of "The Nine Nations of China". It's a little bit "Libya is a land of contrasts", but nonetheless an interesting primer.
We Like Lists Because We Don't Want to Die — Umberto Eco "like[s] lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia"
The Apex Book of World SF gathers stories from around the globe, giving Science Fiction a global aspect not always seen. Charles Tan interviews the writers who contributed.
Yeah, that guy back there on the left behind Buddy & Stacey is Jimi Hendrix. It's the earliest known footage of him performing. This other video of the same performance gets something terribly wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. Now get yourself over to TubeRadio.fm and add it to your playlist. (via Ed Cone. And no, I don't work for last.fm or TubeRadio, though I think the latter is pretty cool).
Route from the 1969 Movie Easy Rider. Last April MrZip66 rode his motorcycle along the route Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper rode in Easy Rider. His blog entry has a map of the route and then-and-now photos. This week Slate's doing the same thing, except in a PT Cruiser (and flying over part of the route).
On The Path of the Elders is a site tells the story of Treaty Nine, or James Bay Agreement, through an online role playing game.
Jeanne-Claude, Christo's partner, is dead at 74. Christo will of course continue their work. [more inside]
When Jonathan Coulton scheduled his October 10th show at Chicago's Park West, he didn't know that fellow nerd-rockers They Might Be Giants were playing on the same day, at the same time, in the nearby Vic Theater. Not only that, the Giants were performing their hit 1990 album Flood in its entirety. In a tongue-in-cheek effort to make sure somebody showed up for his performace, Coulton, along with Paul and Storm, decided to perform their own take on Flood. Hightlights included absolutely no accordion ("that's a selling point"). In nine parts on YouTube. Audio recorded directly from the venue's soundboard.
The Christian Science Monitor asks: is the slogan "Pray for Obama - Psalm 109:8" an amusing inside joke or an offensive call for assassination? On the Rachel Maddow Show, Frank Schaeffer argues that it's pretty clearly the latter - or something close to it [yt]. When the text of Psalm 109:8 - "Let his days be few; and let another take his office." was brought to their attention, CafePress and Zazzle stopped allowing merchandise with the slogan to be sold. That decision was reversed today. [more inside]
Ahh, Winter! I'm sure we're all looking forward to Christmas presents, heated car seats, and New Year's resolutions that last as long as our hangovers. But it can't be all fun and games - thus, we enter Cold Water Boot Camp, instructed by none other than Professor Popsicle (U of Manitoba's Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht), who was back in the news last week after he drove a Mercury Sable into Winnipeg's Red River.
Keith Schofield(previously)'s new video for Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck has ruffled a few feathers. [more inside]
Kyle Cassidy's In The Hive "As fine art photography increasingly at times adopts the tropes of snapshots I often find myself in galleries wondering if the artist didn't possess some sort of faulty camera whose shutter tripped randomly... I asked twenty-three people scattered around the U.S. to wear their cameras everywhere and over the next 48 hours I sent eleven text messages at random intervals asking everyone to take a photo of whatever was in front of them at that moment." [more inside]
The Wire - 100 Greatest Quotes (SLYT) (NSFW)
It has been nearly a year since the Mumbai terror attacks. Journalist Jason Motlagh has written a four part article about them for The Virginia Quarterly Review. The first part is about the initial attacks and the history of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization responsible. Part two continues describing the events of the first night as well as police and media responses. The third is about the events of the second day and includes intercepted phonecalls between the gunmen and their handlers as well as recounting the initial interrogation of the sole terrorist captured alive. The last part is about the last day of the attacks and the aftermath. The article has a large number of photographs and is a harrowing read.
Playing with Fire and Water is a blog by a freelance chef who creates some of the most interesting and delicious looking food creations. The best part? The accompanying science behind it and recipes. Amateur chefs and food nerds, eat your heart out. [more inside]
The world of soccer has been rocked by a French player's game-defining handball in the much-anticipated qualifier match between France and Ireland. Thierry Henry has admitted to the offense, but said ultimately it is the duty of the linesman to make the call. His action and subsequent admission have drawn strong reactions, including attempts to vandalize his Wikipedia page. [more inside]
Silicon Sweatshops is a five-part investigation of the supply chains that produce many of the world’s most popular technology products, from Apple iPhones, to Nokia cell phones, Dell keyboards and more. The series examines the scope of the problem, including its effects on workers from the Philippines, Taiwan and China. It also looks at a novel factory program that may be a blueprint for solving this perennial industry problem.
Today would have been Indira Gandhi's 92nd birthday, had she not been assassinated by members of her own guard in her own backyard on October 31st, 1984 (I was there in New Delhi in a cab when the driver suggested it might be safer if he turned around and took me straight home). Often confused as a relative of the more famous Gandhi, fashionable, stylish and well groomed Indira was actually the daughter of India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and used her married name, although divorced from her Parsi exhusband. Daughter and mother of Prime Ministers of India, she herself held office with an iron fist, remembered for the "Emergency", a brief period of martial law often overlooked in the democratic vibrancy of Indian politics. Will Mrs Gandhi's legacy of dynasty be continued by her half Italian grandson?
Synth Britannia "Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage. In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain."
Out in the Sort is a 2005 New Yorker article that provides a look behind the scenes at UPS. From repairing laptops, to warehousing every available Bentley car part, to running its own postsecondary institution, UPS is expanding beyond its traditional role as a shipper of goods.
We've talked about tasers on Mefi before. We've all heard about the tasing of mouthy grandmothers, recalcitrant students, and diabetics. But as a method of controlling a 10 year old's temper tantrum? Stanford University [PDF] released a report saying that tasers should only be used in situations where the suspect is dangerous, and should not be used on children. However, there seems to be a trend where the taser is being used as a threat and a disciplinary tool, rather than as a tool to protect officers.
When the Jessamine* County Public Library acquired a copy of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier, two library workers conspired to keep it out of the patrons' hands, checking it out for an entire year. After an eleven-year-old girl put a hold on the book, they removed the hold; upon discovering this, the library director fired them. [more inside]
Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks, And The "Post-Racial" Presidency by By Naomi Klein. An interesting look at the failure of the two United Nations Durban conferences on racism — and a whole lot of other stuff. [more inside]
"For Dirk McLauren, Wedesnday January 19 2381 has begun very poorly." The Zybourne Clock was to be a hundred-hour long electro-punk-themed RPG made by members of the SA subforum BYOB. After only a few weeks, the project collapsed in drama and failure, leaving only hilarious snippets of text, original "artwork," and level designs. More effort and skill went into parodying The Zybourne Clock than into creating it.
Hokey Smoke! Today is the 50th Anniversary of the television debut of Rocky and Bullwinkle! (...and Boris & Natasha & Peabody & Sherman & Fractured Fairy Tales... Dudley DoRight debuted later in the 1st season) The entire first episode is online at both Hulu and Joost (with some minor alterations based on the DVD release) so, hopefully everyone can see how it began.
In 1972, the book Mind Games - The Guide to Inner Space, inspired* a song by John Lennon. This was during the heyday of the human potential movement, which offered the heretical and possibly dangerous idea that people can achieve heretofore unimagined potentials. Inevitably this movement led to military applications and even a movie about men staring at goats.